April 22, 2014
A New Edition of Genetics in Medicine is Available
Genetics in Medicine (Volume 16, No. 4, April 2014) is now available online by subscription only.
- “Noninvasive prenatal testing: limitations and unanswered questions” by Monica A. Lutgendorf, et al.
- “Communication of genetic test results to family and health-care providers following disclosure of research results” by Kristi D. Graves, et al.
- “Processes and factors involved in decisions regarding return of incidental genomic findings in research” by Robert Klitzman, et al.
A New Edition of Science, Technology & Human Values is Available
Science, Technology & Human Values (Volume 39, No. 3, May 2014) is now available online by subscription only.
- “Genetic Testing, Birth, and the Quest for Health” by Joëlle Vailly
- “Not Just Neoliberalism: Economization in US Science and Technology Policy” by Elizabeth Popp Berman
- “The World’s Not Ready for This: Globalizing Selective Technologies” by Lauren Jade Martin
Made in the USA: Childless Chinese Turn to American Surrogates
(NPR) – Chinese couples who are unable to have children are turning to a surprising place for help these days: America. By hiring American surrogates, Chinese couples get around a ban on surrogacy in China, as well as the country’s birth limits. It also guarantees their children something many wealthy Chinese want these days: a U.S. passport.
Why Is the Teen Birth Rate Falling?
(Pew Research) – The teen birth rate in the U.S. is at a record low, dropping below 30 births per 1,000 teen females for the first time since the government began collecting consistent data on births to teens ages 15-19, according to National Center for Health Statistics data. The all-time peak for teen births was 96.3 per 1,000 in 1957 in the midst of the “Baby Boom,” after having risen dramatically following the end of World War II. But the composition of teen mothers has changed drastically since then.
A New Edition of Journal of Bioethical Inquiry is Available
Journal of Bioethical Inquiry (Volume 11, No. 1, March 2014) is now available online by subscription only.
- “Investigating Research and Accessing Reproductive Material” by Trudo Lemmens & Bernadette J. Richards
- “Market Liberalism in Health Care: A Dysfunctional View of Respecting “Consumer” Autonomy” by Michael A. Kekewich
- “The Incredible Complexity of Being? Degrees of Influence, Coercion, and Control of the “Autonomy” of Severe and Enduring Anorexia Nervosa Patients” by Terry Carney
- “Treatment Refusal in Anorexia Nervosa: The Hardest of Cases” by Christopher James Ryan & Sascha Callaghan
- “Making Sense of Child Welfare When Regulating Human Reproductive Technologies” by John McMillan
- “Understanding Selective Refusal of Eye Donation” by Mitchell Lawlor & Ian Kerridge
April 21, 2014
There Really Are So Many More Twins
(The Atlantic) – From about 1915, when the statistical record begins, until 1980, about one in every 50 babies born was a twin, a rate of 2 percent. Then, the rate began to increase: by 1995, it was 2.5 percent. The rate surpassed 3 percent in 2001 and hit 3.3 percent in 2010. Now, one out of every 30 babies born is a twin. That’s a lot of “extra” twins above the 1980 baseline, but how many?
Iran Considers Ban on Vasectomies in Drive to Boost Birthrate
(The Guardian) – Iran’s parliament is seeking a ban on vasectomies and a tightening of abortion rules as the country moves away from its progressive laws on family planning in an attempt to increase the birthrate. Two decades after Iran initiated an effective birth control programme, including subsidised male sterilisation surgeries and free condom distribution, the country is to make a U-turn. Last year the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, criticised existing policy on contraception, describing it as an imitation of western lifestyle.
April 18, 2014
Preterm Births, Multiples, and Fertility Treatment
(Science Codex) – While it is well known that fertility treatments are the leading cause of increases in multiple gestations and that multiples are at elevated risk of premature birth, these results are not inevitable, concludes an article in Fertility and Sterility. The article identifies six changes in policy and practice that can reduce the odds of multiple births and prematurity, including expanding insurance coverage for in vitro fertilization (IVF) and improving doctor-patient communications about the risks associated with twins.
Identical Twins, One Case of Down Syndrome: A Genetic Mystery
(Los Angeles Times) – A rare occurrence in the earliest days of a pregnancy produces an unusual and mystifying outcome: Identical twin fetuses are conceived of the same meeting of egg and sperm. And despite their shared DNA, one of the twins has Down syndrome (the most common genetic cause of intellectual impairment), but the other does not.
April 17, 2014
The Rise of ‘Social’ Surrogacy: The Women Choosing Not to Carry Their Own Babies for Fear of Hurting Their Careers or Ruining Their Bodies
(Daily Mail) – It used to be that surrogacy was considered an option exclusively for infertile couples, but it appears more and more women are doing it for less medically urgent reasons. According to Elle Magazine, ‘social surrogacy’ is on the rise, with mothers choosing not to carry their baby themselves in order not to upset their work life or ‘ruin’ their bodies. ‘I call these cases designer surrogacy,’ said San Diego-based fertility doctor Lorni Arnold, whose patients have included a socialite ‘who didn’t want to get fat’ and a runner about to do a marathon.
Fertility Mystery Solved: Protein Discovered that Joins Sperm with Eggs
(The Guardian) – A fundamental key to fertility has been uncovered by British scientists with the discovery of an elusive protein that allows eggs and sperm to join together. The molecule – named Juno after the Roman goddess of fertility – sits on the egg surface and binds with a male partner on a fertilising sperm cell. Japanese researchers identified the sperm protein in 2005, sparking a decade-long hunt for its “mate”.
US Judge Overturns 6-Week Abortion Ban
(Associated Press) – A federal judge on Wednesday overturned a North Dakota law that bans abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as six weeks into pregnancy and before many women know they’re pregnant. U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland said the law is “invalid and unconstitutional” and that it “cannot withstand a constitutional challenge.” The state attorney general said he was looking at whether to appeal the decision by the Bismarck-based judge.
WHO Issues New Guidelines to Ensure Contraception as a Human Right
(JAMA, by subscription) – The World Health Organization (WHO) released a set of guidelines on how countries can provide better information on contraception and easier access to services in ways that ensure the respect and protection of women’s human rights. The WHO estimates that 222 million girls and women who do not want to get pregnant are not using any method of contraception. The girls and women who are most in need of modern contraception include adolescents, those living in poor or rural areas, individuals living with HIV, and internally displaced people. The need is of particular concern where women are at high risk of maternal mortality.
April 16, 2014
China Bans Genetic Testing
(Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News) – For nearly a half-century, interrupted only by the Cultural Revolution, China promoted the growth of genetic testing to prevent and address birth defects through state-run hospitals, as well as charities and increasingly in recent years, private enterprises. Then in February, China reversed course. The China Food and Drug Administration posted a new regulation that immediately banned genetic testing—even previously approved services “including prenatal genetic testing, gene sequencing technology-related products, and cutting-edge products and technologies.”
April 15, 2014
Sperm RNA Carries Marks of Trauma
(Nature) – Trauma is insidious. It not only increases a person’s risk for psychiatric disorders, but can also spill over into the next generation. People who were traumatized during the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia tended to have children with depression and anxiety, for example, and children of Australian veterans of the Vietnam War have higher rates of suicide than the general population.
Pregnant Women Who Took Antidepressants Linked to Higher Autism Risk in Boys
(UPI) – Boys, whose mothers took antidepressants such as Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac or Zoloft while pregnant, were almost three times more likely to have autism spectrum disorder. Rebecca A. Harrington and Li-Ching Lee of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dr. Rosa M. Crum of Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Dr. Andrew W. Zimmerman of the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Irva Hertz-Picciotto of the University of California, Davis, said the study involved a total of 966 mother-child pairs.
Consumers Considering Different Health Plans Find Little Info about Abortion Coverage
(Washington Post) – When it comes to coverage of abortion services in plans sold on the health insurance marketplaces, opponents and supporters of abortion rights are in agreement on one thing: Coverage details need to be clearer. A recent analysis by the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive-health research and policy organization that supports abortion rights, found that people in some states would be hard-pressed to find any information about whether the plans they were interested in covered abortion services.
Fertility Tourism: Couples Desperate for a Baby Heading Overseas
(The New Zealand Herald) – As a result of the 2002 law, lower costs, increasing medical infrastructure and the availability of surrogates, the country has emerged as a hotspot for this type of fertility tourism. International surrogacy, also legal in the United States, Thailand, the Ukraine and at least one state in Mexico, is a growing trend for couples and singles, both gay and straight, seeking ways to overcome the hurdles biological, technological, financial, and legal of having children.
April 14, 2014
IVF Patient Pregnant with Another Couple’s Twins in Embryo Mix-Up
(News.com.au) – A WOMAN who underwent fertility treatment at a clinic in Rome became pregnant with the twins of another couple after their embryos were mixed up. Italy’s health ministry says it’s launching an investigation into the error, which was only discovered when the woman was three-months-pregnant.
Payment Bid to Boost IVF Cycle
(Sydney Morning Herald) – Women who donate their eggs so others can have children would be paid for their trouble, under changes to the IVF code of ethics being considered by Australia’s chief medical advisory and research authority. As part of its review of the ethical guidelines for the practice of assisted reproductive technology in Australia, the National Health and Medical Research Council has sought public comment on whether women should be ”compensated for the reproductive effort and risks associated with donating their eggs”.
April 11, 2014
A New Edition of Developing World Bioethics is Available
Developing World Bioethics (Volume 14, No. 1, April 2014) is now available online by subscription only.
- “Bioethics and Forensic Psychiatry” by Debora Diniz
- “Impact of Three Years Training on Operations Capacities of Research Ethics Committees in Nigeria” by Morenike Oluwatoyin Folayan, et al.
- “On Abortion: Exploring Psychological Meaning and Attitudes in a Sample of Mexican Gynecologists” by Ma. Luisa Marván, Asunción Álvarez del Río and Zaira Campos
- “Ethical Issues in Field Trials of Genetically Modified Disease-Resistant Mosquitoes” by David B. Resnik
- “The Ethics of Engaged Presence: A Framework for Health Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Development Work” by Matthew R. Hunt, et al.